What is continuous testing?
Continuous Testing is defined as a software testing type that involves a process of testing early, testing often, test everywhere, and automated. It is a strategy of evaluating quality at every step of the Continuous Delivery Process.
In Agile, where software is frequently released to production, it is extremely important ensure that software is of high quality throughout the development. Testing needs to happen early and often as development is ongoing, requirements are being added and revised and sprints are happening with functionality being user tested and released to end users. It is critical that organizations ensure that the requirements are right and detailed enough for the design and development, of course, and the best scenario is to test throughout development and not leave testing till just before release.
Below are a set of best practices that we can follow to implement and improve testing throughout the development lifecycle.
- Know the business goals and processes
- Excellent collaboration between developers and testers
- Choose the best software for your niche
- Incorporate appropriate quality analysis
- Make it automatic
Let's examine each of these in more detail...
Know the business goals and processes
Continuous testing means testing early and frequently. We must ensure to acquire requirements from business to start development.
- Building a close relationship with the business analysts is important for QA
- Eliminating vagueness from user stories is important- one must ensure user story includes a clear set of acceptance criteria and is testable
- Ignoring non-functional testing can be risky as it can hamper security and performance
- Building meaningful and important end-to-end test scenarios by utilizing data/analytics and trends from the production website to collect information about user journeys and activities through the application should be significant
- Focus on providing value for the business – organize testing in a lean manner. Failure to drive this concept can lead to delays, frustration and costly mis-communication. Same page understanding and excellent communication is critical
Excellent collaboration between developers and testers
Developers test over and over again. Eventually, though, there are system tests and user acceptance test scenarios that happen with dedicated teams assigned to match requirements to the end functionality and proper outputs. Collaboration is key here to ensure requirements are tested properly and acceptable to the end users.
- Pairing testers with developers is important to ensure effective unit testing is executed
- Reducing unnecessary testing artifacts like carrying out extensive test cases and test plans, reducing wait times for testing should be kept in mind
- Adapting a more investigative attitude towards testing while testing manually can be helpful
Choose the best software for your niche
Your organization has it's own unique goals, mission, requirements and end user demands. There are continuous software options out there to explore and finding the right fit can be a challenge. Plan, demo, use trials and assign a team to explore and evaluate the options is the best way to weed out the alternatives and find a solution that scales with your needs and works today.
- Continuous testing can be extremely helpful in providing and error free solution – especially in the mobile app niche where businesses often weigh-in heavily now and going forward in order to differentiate themselves from the competition.
- Choosing the best solution that matches business goals and mission and scales with the projects and business initiatives can provide the best long-term success
- Reporting is key to testing success – choose a continuous testing solution that provides both an informative dashboard for management and top level sponsors as wel as the down and dirty project teams and developers
Incorporate appropriate quality analysis
Whether quality assurance is all hands-on, partial or full automatic, it remains a key aspect of any testing solution. This is especially true of a continuous testing solution as the organization is looking to justify it's transition to and reliance on this potentially productive and efficient answer to delivering the best quality end solution to project customers and end users.
- Quality analysis and assurance in testing is critical to project success and customer satisfaction
- Detailed reporting of quality is key to fast compliance and understanding of quality delivery and acceptance
- Automated quality reporting through the right software is important to keep costs in check and eliminate increased potential for human error or subjective reporting of results – increasing management and customer confidence
Make it automatic
Continuous testing follows the test early and test often approach. Automated testing is useful in order to get quick feedback on the application quality.
- Making test automation a responsibility of both developers and testers is imperative
- Knowing when to automate tests and when to leave them as manual is critical for an effective and speedy delivery
- Running automated tests from a CI server is significant
- Automating new functionality and stories along development instead of leaving them for later should be the ultimate goal.
- Forget pilot / sandbox deployments to QA for testing – automate to test environments for best enablement of continuous testing
- Human involvement in processes should be eliminated as much as possible – automat whatever can be automated
- Standardize the test environments.
- Scale automated testing for best and most reliable results.
Summary / call for input
Continuous testing has proved to be a major asset to organizations who are looking to accelerate their software development and release schedules. Especially in mobile app scenarios as mentioned above. It can prove critically helpful fulfilling delivery schedules in time and boost software development process. As mentioned above, appropriate reporting is key in order to enable enterprise wide buy-in, adaptation and understanding.
Readers – what is your take on continuous testing? Is it for your organization? Are you looking for new testing solutions? Have you found yourself struggling with the delivery of quality end tech solutions or struggled through the UAT process repeatedly?